First Step in the Ten Percent Challenge

By Shawn Dell Joyce 

The Ten Percent Challenge is off to a great start after last weekend’s kick off party in Walden. This week, the Town of Montgomery Chamber of Commerce voted unanimously to endorse the Ten Percent Challenge. That means that many of our local businesses will be pledging to reduce their energy use by ten percent and get ten percent of their employees to do the same.

The first step is signing the pledge, available at most village halls, at the Wallkill River School in Montgomery, or online through Once you sign the pledge, return it to the committee, and it’s time for an energy audit.

An energy audit is free for homeowners, and virtually free for businesses and municipalities. The cost of an audit (ranging from $100-$400) for businesses is based on the number of employees. But, the cost is refundable when you take one of the auditor’s recommendations.

Ronnie in the Montgomery Village Hall filled out the application for a commercial energy audit with me, for the Village of Montgomery.  The application is a one page form available online at, and is very simple. It requires only a few facts about the square footage and number of buildings, employees, and electric usage over the past year. If you don’t have copies of your utility bills, the auditor can find this info online through your utility company.

Getting an energy audit is crucial because it gives you a baseline to measure your current energy usage (you would also want to add in gasoline, and fuel oil if you use it) and some easy ways to reduce your usage, along with the payback periods for efficiency upgrades.

In our county, you have a choice of auditors for residential, most of whom are local businesses with owners that live in our region, some may even be your friends and neighbors. Commercial audits are done through Daylight Savings in Goshen, and the application must be filed through NYSERDA first.

The Town of Montgomery will be discussing supporting the Ten Percent Challenge at the Aug. 4th Town Board Meeting starting at 7:30 at the Town Hall on Bracken Road. Town Board member Dan Dempsey will present the pledge to the board for a vote.

If you need help finding a copy of the pledge, or signing up for an energy audit, contact Sustainable Montgomery or me, and we will help you.  The next meeting for the Ten Percent Challenge is Aug. 3 at 7pm in Maybrook’s Village Hall.

Shawn Dell Joyce is the Director of the Wallkill River Art School in Montgomery, which along with the Wallkill Valley Times is a benchmark business in the Ten Percent Challenge. Both businesses will be reducing their energy usage by ten percent in the next year.

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